400 orang aslis isolated after bridge collapse

About 400 Orang Asli have been isolated since the wooden suspension bridge linking their villages to the outside world collapsed four days ago.

Now they have to use sampans and other small boats to cross Sungai Belatok to send their children to school and fetch them home.

They are appealing to the government to repair the bridge as soon as possible, saying that the rain at this time of year makes the river “treacherous.”

The Orang Asli are from Kampung Pos Brooke Lama, Kampung Liak and Kuala Renggil, which are separated by the river from Sekolah Kebangsaan Pos Brooke, where their children study.

Fifty-one-year-old Ronggen Alang, who urged the government to act fast, said the bridge collapsed because of the rain, a mudslide and the swift waters of the swollen river.

“The rain fell non-stop for about six hours. The water level rose and there was a big mudslide. It was frightening and everyone stayed indoors,” he said.

He said the water was still high and the current swift and dangerous.

Raefaah Salam, 43, said that she used the river only because she had to, and on several occasions felt very afraid, especially when it suddenly rained.

She said the government should repair the bridge quickly to prevent any tragedy.

She dreaded the possibility of children falling from a boat. The depth of the river and the fast current would make it very difficult to save them, Raefaah said.

– Bernama